PORTSMOUTH-- The Department of Defense decided to delay civilian furlough notices for approximately 2 weeks in order to analyze the impact of resolution legislation on resources, officials said Thursday.
The delay is little comfort for the 9,100 civilian employees at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, who were expected to receive furlough notices.
It was believed that the Pentagon would begin handing out furlough notices Thursday to most of the department's 800,000 civilian workers.
Defense officials have been saying that the budget cuts known as sequestration would force them to furlough civilian employees for up to 22 days between April and the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.
The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission said as many as 40,000 civilians in Hampton Roads would get notices.
The furlough would reduce the employees' pay by 20 percent by having them work one less day a week.
William Winslow works at the shipyard and says he was concerned for the younger workers.
“I’m sure of the younger people it’s really going to hurt them bad. For me, I’ve been working a while, I’ve almost got my house paid for, but for the younger people it's going to be a hardship,” said Winslow.
Emily "Cookie" Harris is chairperson for the Tidewater Federal Metal Workers Trade Council, which represents about 4,000 of the roughly 9,000 Norfolk Naval Shipyard workers.
Harris says union representatives have worked out furlough specifics with shipyard officials prior to notices going out.
"We were told to prepare for it even though it hasn’t actually happened, but rather than wait until it does come to the table we prepared, and we’re ready. As ready as we can be anyway," said Harris.
A representative from Local 376 said Vice Admiral Kevin McCoy sent a message to federal shipyards Thursday to stand down with sending out furlough notices.